Playoff bound: Lady Patriots begin playoffs against Fort Dale

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Photo/Mike Hensley
After finishing the regular season 13-16, the Pike Lady Patriots will begin the AISA Class 3A playoffs on Tuesday morning when they take on Fort Dale.

The Pike Liberal Arts Lady Patriots are set to embark on their second season when they take on Fort Dale in the opening round of the AISA State Playoffs beginning this morning.

The Patriots finished the regular season with a 13-16. The Patriots want to make a deep run in the playoffs, but to do that, they need to get over the opening hurdle.

“We have to get by them (Fort Dale) first,” said Patriots head coach Robert Rollan. “If we do that we are in good shape. We are as excited as we can be. It’s the first round of the playoffs. Fort Dale is a solid team and we need to come out and play great ball.”

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A season, along with the following postseason, is often characterized as a marathon and not a sprint. So with each win during this time of the year, the Patriots feel themselves inching a bit closer to their ultimate goal.

“Everybody realizes that with each game you get closer to the state tournament,” Rollan said. “Whoever wins has an open bid to the tournament. It comes down to how bad you want it. You have to overcome adversity and string hits together”

The Patriots have already had to overcome some adversity this season. The early portions of the schedule brought along cold weather and inconsistent play by the Patriots. As the season grew older, the Patriots became more consistent and have been playing better according to Rollan.

“We have gotten a lot better as far as figuring out who we are and being able to figure out the identity of our team,” Rollan said. “We have been better at becoming more fundamentally sound. Our pitching and hitting has gotten better. As a whole, we have gotten a lot better as a team.”

The Patriots welcomed three new players into the fold at the beginning of the year in Sabra Daniels, Maddie Johnson and Haliegh Dewberry. It took time for them to gel together, but when they did they fit right in.

“It took some time,” Rollan said. “They jumped right in and they fit right in with everybody. We are young and getting those young girls up to seep and believing that they could play was a big part. We lived by the young pitchers early. Once they figured out they could throw we started playing pretty good ball.”

The Patriots and Eagles will begin game one of their three-game series at 10 a.m. with game two to follow at noon. If a game three is necessary it will be at 2 p.m. all three games will be played at Pike.